United By Design and A New Interior Finish Program
Miller & Smith Puts The Finishing Touches On Every Homeowner’s Dream.
We are all united by design. Especially when it comes to matters of the home. It’s this indirect human connection that creates our perfect spaces, layered in comfort, surrounded by the family we create. And it is from this common ground that blurs the lines between work, life and hobby. For Samantha Gilman, Senior Product Development Manager at Miller & Smith, there isn’t a part in the design process that she doesn’t touch. From how the home relates to the site, working with the architects and interior designers, to curating the best products and features to help homeowner’s achieve their vision. This is how Miller & Smith’s new interior finish programs came together. With a thoughtful, simplified process full of all new features, fixtures and finishes, curated by Miller & Smith, for you. Good design, plain and simple, is the best reflection of you. Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration.
Read on for more about our new Selection Program from our in-house Life + Style Expert:
Explain what you do as Senior Product Developer at Miller & Smith.
I oversee our entire product development process. Starting with conceptual architecture when we buy lots all the way to our interior finish programs — from cabinets, to tile and flooring. I manage our onsite design galleries at each community as well. So everything that you see in the finished product, I have a part in.
What makes home design successful?
Designing a home so that any buyer can walk in and see themselves living in it. How can they use the space and cater it to their needs? Is it a study that also can work as a dining room or is it a mud room that also could be your breakfast nook? Being able to see how they could live specifically in the floorplan and how their different styles can be represented in the space. We’ve done a great job this year revamping our finish programs to offer a mix of traditional, transitional and modern styles. Making them easily interchangeable and less overwhelming for buyers. We used to have 90 cabinets and finishes. Now we can say “here are our top five sellers, in the top five colors, and this is what people are going to buy.” We are also staying ahead of the trends. Being able to allow customers to personalize their home whether it’s floorplan or finish. Helping them envision how they would live in the space is what I consider successful design.
Speaking of trends, tell us about the popular design features that you’re seeing lately, room-by-room.
More color. People are branching out from white and wood. They’re getting into black, maybe a little punch of blue. Definitely in cabinets and in faucets from black to bronze to polished chrome. Cabinet hardware is an easy, inexpensive way to add that little pop. The brushed gold and the satin bronze has been really popular for us, as well. Tile backsplashes are like jewelry on top. Whether it’s the pattern or the shape or color or material, might be a marble or might be a glass to just give it that shine or sparkle on the backsplash. Those are high impact, low cost jewelry for the space.
Lighter, brighter. Quartz gives you a consistent finish. We don’t offer marble, but we have some of those looks in quartz and it’s less expensive, lower maintenance. Granite is still popular in the lighter colors and it has a lot of movement in it, so it brings out the brighter colors in the cabinetry. But quartz is definitely starting to surpass granite because it is so consistent and you get those true whites at a really good price point.
The wider planks are popular. We have 3, 5, 7 and 9”. Depending on the space, the wide planks look fantastic. A 9” plank in a big, wide open floorplan looks great. The lighter, more natural tones are trending. The honey-hued and natural white oaks are big. And even a variety of grains. The white oak is consistent, but it has a lot of movement in it. Hickory and ash have been popular ones for us in a lot of our projects because they have very unique grain patterns. Natural color and material has been the trend for the past couple of years. We’re moving away from the dark espresso that doesn’t really exist outside of the design world. It’s not a natural hue or look. But the reclaimed, rustic, earthy trend is definitely here.
Mixing glass and metal in larger scale pendants over the islands. Where we used to offer small 6” pendants all the way across, now the scale is much bigger. Now they are 16 or 24” pendants over the island giving you much more impact. More clean, modern lines. A little straighter, a little cleaner, not a lot of embellishment – just nice and clean.
What brands go into finishing a Miller & Smith home?
We offer the major name brands like Kohler, Progress, Wellborn and Shaw. We may be a small builder, but we are aligned with the top brands across all products. You are buying quality, you are buying name brand and something that will last.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I’m a big HGTV fan. Even when I’m at home, I’m still scheming and planning and taking notes for what we can do here or what I can do in my own home. I have a husband, a kid and two dogs at home, so we spend a lot of time together, especially this year. But music, sports and Food Network are our things too. We are big foodies. Always taking notes.
Who is your favorite designer?
Amber Interiors in California is my favorite designer, above all. She is California cool, but it’s traditional and vintage at the same time. Her style feels very comfortable and livable. Not designed or staged. The colors and textures — I love everything she does.
What is the best part of your job as Senior Product Developer at Miller & Smith?
Being able to take something that is literally a sketch on a piece of paper and then seeing it built on site, in real life is a pretty cool reward for this job. Not everything is so tangible like this. It’s a lengthy process that has you biting your fingernails for 9-10 months but to actually see things come out of the ground and see the vision come to life and be able to walk through the space, and then seeing families move in and a finished community with life teeming everywhere. That’s a pretty cool thing. These homes will be here forever, you can’t say that about too many things.